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Part of the Short Stories Series.

Handwriting On The Wall -- 01/11/10

The depression arrived soon after he was shocked by some news of a deeply personal nature. At first he thought this sadness would never again happen upon him. Instead he realized that he would have to delve into memories and issues that might be disturbing. In his ensuing journey he underestimated the duration of his depression, the depth of his sadness, the intensity of the memories long ago buried way down within his life experiences.

In the many months to come, he struggled to find the light and then follow its illuminated path. He didn't journey alone, a trained medical councilor helped in search in the right directions. She was extremely gifted in understanding, patience, and offering just the right advice when that advice was needed. Without her help, he would have never made it through.

Several months into the struggle for self, he encountered strangers that for unexplained reasons sensed a connection with him. Sometimes they would strike up a conversation with him providing a new perspective about one of his troubling topics that preoccupied his days. Often in his search for answers he would talk to strangers on the phone, seeking out from them certain information he was searching for about someone. In every case, he learned something new from them even if they could not direct him towards his goal. From those experiences he began to sense that he was not alone on his journey. Yet the confusion and emotional turmoil he felt kept him from seeing a more complete picture. It was a puzzle he wanted to solve, but the solution remained elusive for a long, long time.

He would often stroll by the ocean's shore, just outside the reach of the tides ever-changing waves. Looking down, he could avoid eye contact of the other folks walking along the shore. On those walks, he had enough trouble thinking for himself, let alone engage in fruitful discussions. Even avoiding saying "hello" kept him focused on the difficult emotional tasks at hand.

Many months passed by in his life, though to him they blended into only so many days. Time loses reference during depression. Time is measured by people with clear thinking and feelings. Depressed people like he, paid no attention to the passing hours, days, weeks, and months. Until one day when he gained a glimpse of hope.

Then time began to matter again, slowly at first. As if awaking from a coma, light began to illuminate the darkness of his depression. What he couldn't see before, now started to become recognizable. It happened one day as he walked along the shoreline as he had been doing for many months. Looking down at his feet with each step, he wondered how long would would this struggle take? How long would the pain keep hurting? How could he measure definitive progress towards his goals?

In the thousand steps taken that day along the shore, one moment stands out starkly against all others. On that beach there is a very long concrete wall about 100 feet from the water's edge. That wall remains graffiti-free as sense of public pride. At a precise moment, something commanded him to sharply turn his head and look straight at the wall. He stopped in his tracks. He was staring at a message meant for him, directly perpendicular to his position on that wall. The only graffiti message out of the wall's entire length said, "God Loves You!"

He immediately understood. The transference in those three words impregnated him down to his very soul. He knew the road to full depression-free recovery would still be off into the future, but he knew one day it would end.

Sometimes the handwriting on the wall is true. The observer needs to be in a position to absorb the full meaning of the message. Lives can be saved and put back on track at such junctures. Those understanding the message will one day use the knowledge they gained from their journey to emergence to help others. They acknowledge there is purpose in life and the lessons learned along the way. The deepest and most difficult lessons are the most valuable of all.

Don


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